Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 9, 2011 6:00pm-7:45pm EDT

6:00 pm
stamp act crisis, the american revolution, and the drafting of virginia's first state constitution. george mason died on october 71792. it's about an hour. .. >> and the university of arkansas at little rock.
6:01 pm
he's also practiced law for several years. in addition to forgotten founder, he's the author of "eisenhower and the anti-communist crusade." in writing about his new book, "forgotten founder," publishers weekly said his assessment of mason judicious. this biography is a standout. i give you dr. jeffrey broadwater. [applause] >> thank you, donna. take me a minute to get set up up here. well, let's see, oops. to begin with, i would like to thank you for inviting me to
6:02 pm
gunston hall. this is the first opportunity i've had to talk publicly about george mason, forgotten founder, since the book came out. and i can't think of a better place to start than gunston hall. this is really the perfect setting to begin a discussion of george mason. when you write a book, people ask you certain natural questions; what's the book about, how did you get interested in the subject. in my case, why did you write a book about george mason. and i struggle sometimes to give good, short answers which may be typical of authors. and i think the question that scares me the most is what's new about your book. and i've got to say in my case the honest answer is, i'm not
6:03 pm
sure. i didn't know that much about mason when i started on the book, so in a way it was all new to me. which, i guess, brings me back to the question, why did i write a book about george mason? and i think i can answer that question. for one thing, the project seemed manageable. mason's public papers or published papers, as you know, are contained in just three modest-sized volumes. and i suspect the more sophisticated biographer would have looked at that and thought, well, that scarcity of papers would make it impossible to write a finely-nuanced biography. but i looked at it and thought, well, i think i can read three books. [laughter] it didn't look that overwhelming to me. and seriously, biographies have been written with a lot less in the way of personal papers.
6:04 pm
and mason seemed like an important and an appealing subject. as you know, he disliked politics, but one of his fellow politicians described him as one of the best politicians in america. in the 17, or in the 1760s and 1770s mason became involved in american resistance to british tax policies. he helped to draft a nonimportation agreement to protest the townsend duties, he drafted the father fax resolves -- the fairfax resolves which call for the creation of a continental congress and became the basis in part of a continental boycott of british goods. one of the things i learned by working on the book is by the eve of the american revolution
6:05 pm
mason was considered virginia's premier political thinker. in 1775, 1776 he was, he was more influential among his fellow virginians than, say, thomas jefferson. mason wrote much of the or most of the virginia declaration of rights and most of virginia's state constitution. and, of course, the famous second paragraph of the declaration of independence, the one that begins, "we hold these truths to be self-evident." thomas jefferson took that from the first paragraph of mason's virginia declaration of rights. mason was a, um, he was a, an effective although reluctant politician. during the revolutionary war, he spent, he spent most of the revolutionary war in the virginia house of delegates.
6:06 pm
um, as a delegate and as a private citizen during the revolution he fought for sound money and sound physical policies in the virginia assembly. when a dispute arose over control of western land that virginia claimed and that dispute threatened to prevent -- well, i think i was starting with a kind of an introduction to mason and may have gotten up to the revolutionary war years, and i was going to mention a couple of things he did during that period. and one was, um, the role that he played in the resolution of virginia's western land claims. that was a dispute that arose during the revolution. it thenned to prevent ratification of the articles of
6:07 pm
confederation. mason intervened and helped negotiate transfer of title to virginia's western lands to congress, and that facilitated ratification of the articles of confederation. perhaps a more important or at least i think more interesting is mason along with thomas jefferson and james madison fought the good fight in virginia to separate church and state. of course, the masons served in the constitutional convention in philadelphia in may of 1787, and among the group that included george washington, benjamin franklin, alexander hamilton, mason stood out as one of the most active and influential delegates. he was the first to suggest on the floor of the convention that the constitution, the federal constitution ought to include a federal bill of rights. and i think the convention's decision to ignore mason's
6:08 pm
advice -- and it was a unanimous decision since those were cast by state -- was probably the convention's biggest political blunder. and it certainly made ratification of the constitution more difficult than it, than it would have been. mason, of course, refused to sign the constitution and became, i think, the most, the most distinguished, the most intellectually impressive anti-federalist as the opponents of the constitution were known. and, of course, to win ratification of the constitution, the federalist supporters of the document had to agree to add a bill of rights once the constitution was approved and the new government began operating. the adoption of the bill of rights appeased mason partially, but he was never really reconciled to the new political order. by the time he died in 1792,
6:09 pm
though, he was complaining less about the constitution, but that was mainly because he'd begun to complain about the new government and particularly the fiscal policies of alexander hamilton. the target of his wrath switched or changed from the constitution the new government. well, that's a brief, brief overview of mason's career. um, what i really wanted to talk about was some of the surprises that i encountered working on the book and, first, a few of the perhaps minor surprises, and there are three major themes that i really want the focus on this morning. despite mason's accomplishments, he makes only, oh, cameo appearances in the standard textbook. and there are very few specialized studies of mason's career. most historians can get through graduate school without reading very much about mason.
6:10 pm
and o -- and so he was a mystery to some extent when i began working on this book. and the work was n a way, one surprise after another. i was struck by the amount of misinformation and confusion that surrounds mason's career. he's often identified as a lawyer. but, of course, he never was admitted to the bar, he never practiced law. and just recently i came across an article that ranked mason alongside john marshall as the father of judicial review. and i was surprised to see that. now, during the constitutional convention at one point in the convention mason said he thought judges should have the power to declare laws unconstitutional. but as far as i know, that's, that's all he ever said about judicial review. so to rank him alongside george
6:11 pm
mason as the father of judicial review is a real stretch. um, there are radical differences in how his views on slavery are interpreted. in 1892 kate mason rowland wrote her biography of mason, and she said -- this is in 1892 -- that mason was not an abolitionist in the modern sense of the term which seemed fair enough to me. but the more recent historians have concluded that he was an abolitionist. and one, in fact, went so far as to say he was openly and urgently abolitionist which openly and urgently struck me as a little bit of an overstatement. mason's opposition to the constitution, um, is often attributed to two things; to the fact that it lacked a bill of rights and that it permitted the foreign slave trade to continue for at least another 20 years.
6:12 pm
now, those were important issues to mason. but i think the single most important reason why mason opposed the constitution was because he was afraid that congress would give northern merchantmen a monopoly on american shipping and drive up freight rates to southern planters which i'm going to talk about that a little bit more in a minute. another surprise, i was actually surprised at the level, the degree of esteem that mason enjoyed among his contemporaries and the very respectful treatment that he's received among, from modern scholars when they've noticed him. now, i knew he exercised considerable influence in his day. i didn't realize just how considerable it was. um, i was struck by a phrase in
6:13 pm
katherine bowen's popular history of the constitutional convention where she says that of all the opponents of the constitution, she thinks mason was the most disinterested, the purist in his motives from a contemporary historian. and this very sympathetic assessment reflects a contemporary opinion. thomas jefferson said that after mason died that he thought mason was one of virginia's really great men. he was of the first order of greatness which was going to be the title of the book. i wanted to call it "the first order of greatness," but unc press people are not going to think to look under the first order of greatness, and i guess that made sense, so that title went by the wayside. there are three discoveries that i had that, i think, stand out, and at least arguably you can say basic themes about mason's career. one has to do with economics.
6:14 pm
i was surprised at the depth of mason's distrust. of the urban commercial class. now, as a large tobacco planter, mason was very much involved in an international commercial system. but i don't think he liked it very much. i don't think he was very comfortable with the system. the second theme had to do with, with the role of place and region in mason's career. i was surprised at the extent to which sectional differences influenced his politics. even before slavery became the moral issue dividing the north and south, i think mason saw the south as an embattled minority within the union. and then there was a question, a third theme, was mason's political philosophy.
6:15 pm
now, i knew he was an anti-federalist, and he was an opponent of the ratification of the constitution. i assumed he was opposed in principle to the consolidation of power in a national government. but as i got into the research on the book, i came to the conclusion that at least of equal importance was the fact that mason really distrusted political power at any level. um, and i want to -- i'll talk a little bit more about that in a few minutes. but first, look at this theme of mason and the urban commercials classes. mason's distrust of what i'm calling the commercial classes was a product in part of the fact that he was a republican with a small r, an 18th century republican. 18th century republicans believed that virtue was
6:16 pm
critical to the success of a political society. by virtue, they met the willingness to put the public interest ahead of potential interest. personal jest. they also believed that political societies tended toward corruption, and that was, that was the word that they would use. "corruption" meaning putting your personal interests ahead of the public good. theoretically, according to this republican philosophy, corruption went hand in hand with wealth. wealth produced luxury. and luxury enfeeble led the affluent. worldly pleasures distracted them from their responsibilities as citizens. the love of money really was the root of all sorts of political evils. wealth created inequality. it created divisions, what they
6:17 pm
would call factions. class divisions. everyone would not share equally in the abundance of society. and that inequality would create divisions, would create factions. it would make it impossible for people to agree on a public to identify with the public interest because they all had different economic interests. now, what was the chief source of this wealth that was such a threat to republican society. was it land and slaves? well, no, not in the mind of 18th century republicans like mason. it was commerce. um, and the most famous expression of this hostility to urban capitalism is thomas jefferson's notes on the state of virginia where he talks about
6:18 pm
those who labor the earth are the chosen people of god. the other famous is the mobs of the great cities to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body. and the suspicion of commerce went hand in hand with the suspicion of big cities. and mason agreed with this. , and and, um, i think that raises the question: why did this large planter who was very much involved in an international commercial system as some of you know tried to set up a couple of his sons as merchants later in life, why was this republican critique of commercial society persuasive to him? well, i'm speculating now, but identify got some -- i've got some theories. for one thing it may have had
6:19 pm
something to do with his experiences before and during the american revolution. let's start with the period before the revolution. the british navigation acts had tried to confine american trade within the british empire. there were other regulations that put limits on american manufacturing. mason thought the british regulations were unnecessary and counterproductive. mason thought as long as americans had access to cheap land on the frontier, the business of america would be farming. it wouldn't be industry. he thought british trade regulations weredown productive. counterproductive. they were intended to protect british merchants and pressure manufacturers. but mason thought, for example, if virginians were allowed to sell their tobacco in france for the best price they could get, they would just take their profits and use them to buy manufactured goods from british
6:20 pm
merchants. he didn't think the british trade regulations really served much of a purpose. that was before the american revolution. there were events during the american revolution that at least could have, and i think probably did, reenforce this hostility toward the merchant class. once the revolution began and inflation spun out of control and the continental currency collapsed and the virginia currency collapsed, many americans tended to blame the merchants. um, and one explanation of the currency collapse and the runaway inflation was that merchants were keeping goods off the market in order to drive up profits. and to exploit the situation created by the war. and then after the war mason goes to philadelphia, of course, for the constitutional convention. and i think there's at least some irony for want of a better
6:21 pm
word to the fact that mason's first encounter with a real urban commercial elite may have been when he went to philadelphia in may of 1787. and in philadelphia he found the kind of wealth and luxury that good republicans had been taught to fear. he writes, within just a few days of arriving in philadelphia that he was hardly tired of the etiquette and nonsense, so fashion able in this city. he wasn't too impressed with what he saw and what he saw in philadelphia. and once the new government began operating, his fears of this urban commercial elite, he thought, were confirmed. you see this in a letter that he wrote to james monroe in february, 1792. he told monroe, our new
6:22 pm
government is a government of spot jobbing and favoritism. it required no extraordinary degree of penetration to foresee that it would be so from its formation. mason had told them so. now, it's tempting to assume that mason mistrusted the commercial class because most of these merchants tended to be northerners, and i think there's something to that. but some of the political battles that mason fought in virginia suggest to me that there was more at work here than just the fear of northern her chants. and i'll -- merchants. and i'll give you one example and may get into some others later, but i'll give one example. in 1784 james madison introduced a bill in the house of, um, delegates to establish alexandria and norfolk as virginia's only legal ports of entry.
6:23 pm
i think madison wanted to crack down on smuggling, improve the collection of customs duties. he may have seen this as a way to improve port facilities. and he may have wanted to encourage the development of some local commercial houses. several reasons why madison would have, would have proposed this. mason was violently -- vehemently against it. he thought it was foolish, wasteful for one thing to shut down existing port facilities. but what he worried about the was the possible political consequences of creating great port cities in, um, virginia. and this is just a brief extract from a petition that he sent to the virginia house of delegates when this port legislation was pending. if virtue -- back to virtue -- if virtue is the vital principle of a republic and it cannot long
6:24 pm
exist without frugality, probity and strictness of morals, will the manners of populace commercial cities be favorable to the principles of free government? or will not vice, the depravity of morals, the luxury, banality and corruption which inevitably prevail be utterly subversive of the principles of republican government? many and then he went on to list earlier commercial republics that he thought had been destroyed by, by their own moral depravity and commercial republics. athens, he says. carte that long, rome, geneva, venice, holland. he thought history talked, that it had been these commercial cities that had destroyed earlier republics. so that's one theme is this fear of the urban commercial classes.
6:25 pm
now, a second major theme, and that's the fact that from the very beginning of his career mason seemed to see the south as distinctive. i think he saw that distinctiveness as a result of the south's commitment to slavery. and that may be obvious. i think what might be less obvious though is the ripple effect of slavery. the problems the existence of slavery and mason's opposition to slavery created for him and in his mind for virginia and for the south. mason's first recorded attack on slavery came in 1765 during the stamp act controversy. i think mason saw slavery as the
6:26 pm
deterrent to white settlement and as a deterrent to economic development. in 1765 he may have been -- when he attacked slavery then -- he may have been thinking about the difference between pennsylvania and virginia. we know richard henry lee was, and mason and rich ad henry lee were very close, and you could almost write a book or certainly do an article on the relationship between george mason and richard henry lee. and lee believed that virginia was falling behind pennsylvania economically in the 1760s. and lee explained that as a result of virginia's greater reliance on slave labor. and i suspect mason probably shared that, that view. slavery really presented mason with the greatest dilemma of his
6:27 pm
career. he believed it was morally wrong. he did not want to see it expand. in philadelphia he spoke out forcefully against the slave trade. but he seemed unable or unwilling to envision a practical plan for emancipation. at the same time, he understood, i think, that slavery set the south apart and probably doomed the south to be a minority within the union at least for the foreseeable future. madison, i think some of his contemporaries, believed that a natural alliance would, could be formed between the southern states and the states that would arise in the west because they'd both be primarily agrarian agricultural states. mason seems to have been less optimistic about that. he department see that as the south's -- he didn't see that as the south's salvation, so his
6:28 pm
dilemma was he believed that the south, that slavery created political problems for the south, but he didn't know what to do about, about slavery. and so that, i think that's where a lot of these sectional problems come from. now, as -- after the revolution there are a couple of issues that come up that highlight or exacerbate these exceptional differences. one came up even before the war was over, and it had to do with giving congress the power to impose a tariff to collect revenues. this came up each before the treaty of paris was signed. and the question of giving congress the power to collect a tariff became a sectional issue. richard henry lee, again, believed that, that the northern majority in congress would use this tariff to strangle the southern commerce. and mason was opposed to it, to
6:29 pm
the tariff. james madison comes to gunston hall in late 1783 after this tariff issue's come up, and madison leaves convinced that mason really doesn't have much interest in remaining in the union. that if union breaks up after the revolutionary war, that mason appears to be prepared to live with it. another device of sectional issue comes up the next year in 1784, has to do with access to the mississippi river which is controlled by the spanish at this point. and the spanish close the port of new orleans to american shippers. this is a major problem for american settlers in the southwest because they rely on the mississippi river to get their crops to market. the responsibility for dealing with the problem falls to john jay. jay is the secretary of foreign
6:30 pm
affairs for congress under the articles of confederation. jay just happens to be from new york which doesn't help. and, um, jay seems willing to agree to the spanish, seems willing to accept the spanish decision to close the mississippi if spain will make some concessions to the new united states and some other areas, particularly to open some spanish colonies to northern her chants. it's a very divisive issue. congress does not go along with it. but it really drives -- it's one more thing to drive a wedge between north and south, again, even before slavery's become a divisive issue. when mason gets to philadelphia, you see this sectional issue reemerge. and, again, richard henry lee is talking to mason about this. shortly before the convention
6:31 pm
begins, mason gets a letter from richard henry lee, and lee is warning mason about these northerners. he tells them there are going to be eight northern states, there are going to be five southern states. the northern states are going to have a majority, and they may adopt legislation that discriminates against, against the south. mason's worried too, although he's from a little different perspective. mason's worried in 1787 about a philosophical split between particularly new england and the south. and, um, mason writes a letter in which he says that, you know, when the revolution started, the new englanders were the real firebrand. this is what mason says. the new englanders were the real radicals and things haven't worked out quite as well as we'd hoped. we want our independence, but we've bun struggling since --
6:32 pm
we've been struggling since then. and he's afraid these new englanders are going to be, they're going to be disappointed, and they're going to swing from one extreme to the other. he says this is sort of human nature, and he's concerned the radical revolutionaries now may embrace some kind of undemocratic conservativism. they may go to the other extreme. so he's worried about them from that perspective. are saw -- so economics in play as well. mason's solution is a series of structural devices written into the constitution to protect southern interests. the first one, one thing that mason favored, was a three-member presidency, a co-presidency. and his idea was there would be one president from the south, one president from the mid atlantic states and one president from new england, and they would have a sort of veto power on each other. that went nowhere.
6:33 pm
that really didn't get serious consideration from the convention, i think there were one or two delegates maybe that were interested in that. but they decided fairly early in the convention that, no, we just need one president. a second structural device that mason proposed to try to protect southern interest was some kind of counsel of state, some or sot of small committee to advise the president. virginia had a counsel of state. these were common in the colonial and early state governments. and he wanted to, he wanted this counsel of state to be selected on a regional basis. and it was never entirely clear exactly what the powers of the counsel of state would be, but at one point mason suggested the council should make appointments as opposed to letting the
6:34 pm
president do it. so each region could have possibly a veto over presidential appointments. the council of state was a little more popular than the idea of a three-member presidency. madison supported some version of this, benjamin franklin did, some of the other delegates. but it was, it was never adopted. do third structural -- the third structural device that mason proposed, and this was his most serious proposal, and i think it went to the heart of what he was worried about in philadelphia, was a requirement that before congress could pass any sort of commercial regulation, that it would require a two-thirds majority, that they would take a two-thirds majority to pass some sort of an american navigation act. and that had some serious support, and at one point in the convention it was basically written this to the -- in to the working draft of the constitution only to be dropped later.
6:35 pm
and again at this point, i think mason's concern was this monopoly against shipping, to prevent congress from giving northern shippers a monopoly over american shipping. well, the last major theme that i want to discuss this morning had to do with mason's political philosophy. and the fact that i think his suspicion of political power in general had as much to do with his opposition to the constitution as did his concerns about consolidating power in this new national government. i say that for two reasons. the first reason involves some of the problems that mason had with state and local officials in virginia. the other reasons has to do with the fairly nationalistic position that mason took in the
6:36 pm
first two or three months of the, of the constitutional convention. now, let's look, first, at mason's problems in virginia. these go back to before the american revolution, and the revolution doesn't change things too much in his mind. mason never had too much faith in officials in williamsburg and later in richmond. you see this in a letter that he wrote about his ohioan company -- ohio company business, and i'm sure most of you are familiar with the ohio company. this was a giant real estate project, development that mason was involved in. it was an effort to develop about 500,000 acre at the forks of the ohio river. and mason was a partner in this, in this ohio company.
6:37 pm
the ohio company in hindsight seems to have been doomed from the start. it encountered every conceivable problem including the french and indian war which it probably helped provoke. and royal officials on both sides of the atlantic blew hot and cold, mainly cold, about the prospects of the company. but mason believed, and he said this in a letter, that he thought he'd encounter more competition from virginia than he did from london. and at one point an issue comes up about the continuing, i think the issue had to do with, basically, the continuing validity of the grant that the ohio company had gotten from the king, and there was some decision that had to be made. and the question was, well, will the decision be made in london, or will it be made in
6:38 pm
williamsburg. and mason writes one of his co-partners and is says, basically, i hope it's not made in williamsburg. i'd rather it be made in london than be made by some of the local politicians. and as i say, the revolution didn't change things very much. mason did not think that the revolution improved the quality of our political leadership. this may have been one of the big err surprises i had working on in this. we think of these men, the founding fathers, as giants. probably the finest generation of political leadership we ever had. that's not exactly how they saw themselves. in 1780 mason wrote a letter this which he complained about the mediocrity of the men being elected to the virginia assembly. he blamed the problem on, and this sounds pretty modern, low
6:39 pm
voter turnout. [laughter] yeah. he said, he said that an ignorant or an obscure man may have considerable influence within a narrow circle, but it will seldom extend through a county. unfortunately, elections are so little attended to that a fact chus, bawling fellow may carry an election against a man of ten times his weight. and within a couple of years mason is so disgusted with his colleagues in the virginia assembly he decides, he decided to lead the assembly. he said in one letter he acquitted my seat in the house of delegates to the point i was no longer able to do any essential service. some so contrary to my notions of policy and justice i wish to be no further concerned with or answerable for them. and then a few months later in another letter he says that, um, that they drove me out of the
6:40 pm
assembly. he said he was convinced he couldn't do any manner of good with the people he he had to work with in the assembly. well, that was the assembly. what about the executive bran of virginia's -- branch of virginia's government? mason didn't think much about that either, but he liked jefferson, jefferson was governor, and he liked jefferson and got along pretty well with patrick henry. but they may have been the exceptions. i came across one petition that mason wrote in the fall of 1781. now, he might have been celebrating the american victory at yorktown, but it was mason's habit to, you know, celebrate excessively. and he writes this petition complaining about, um, some of the executive branch officials. he's particularly complaining about their use of the power of
6:41 pm
impressment, that they're seizing private property for the military and not paying for it even though he thinks cash is available to pay willing sellers. and he targets thomas nielsen who was governor for abusing the power of impressment. and he also attacks nielsen for acting without approval of the council of state. there's that council of state again. the virginia constitution required governor's actions to be approved by the council of state. well, nielsen had been at yorktown commanding the virginia militia and was having to act without approval of the council of state. and mason says in his, in his petition -- and i can't remember the exact number, but he says there was something like, you know, 12 or 15 or 16 generals down there, i don't know why we
6:42 pm
needed another one down there. nielsen could have been back in the capitol acting with the approval of the council. well, the assembly cleared nielsen of any charges of wrongdoing, but not before he resigned as governor. and mason's petition may have played a part in that. well, what about the fairfax county court? that branch of government closest to the people. supposedly, most receptive to the will of the people. mason didn't think much of it either. he'd been elect today the court in 1747, rarely attended its sessions. and in 1750 he was basically, i think, purged for nonattendance. he's eventually, he eventually regains his seat on the fairfax county court. he eventually regains a seat, but his attendance doesn't
6:43 pm
improve. he quarrels with the court over just one issue after another. and in 1782 he's protesting a proposed tax increase. in 1787 he's protesting their mismanagement of the county courthouse. later that year he's complaining the operation of the county road system is discriminating against residents in rural areas. in 1789 he's complaining about the location of the new courthouse, and each one of these instances he's selling -- he's sending petition toss the legislature trying to get them to overturn decisions that the fairfax county court has made. now, at the same time though mason is not implaque my opposed to giving more power to the national government. once this issue of western lands
6:44 pm
is resolved, once virginia's western land claims are resolved and the western lands are transferred to congress, mason has an open mind about strengthening congress. when he gets to the constitutional convention, in the first two months he's as much a nationalist almost as alexander hamilton. he supports madison's virginia plan which would have strengthen ed the central government. and he agreed with madison that he thought congressional elections would attract more responsible officials, candidates than local legislative races. and he actually, he te fended -- defended the virginia plan on a couple of grounds. he thought that the problem with the articles of confederation congress was it just had one
6:45 pm
house and accustomed to most states. and he argued in the convention that people will be willing to transfer more power to it. he also argued that he thought the new government could protect individual rights. and he said he thought there were two evils of the republican system. one was that the majority would to press the minority. the other was that demagogues would manipulate the people. but he said that he thought in this new national system it would be difficult for a local majority, a majority in one state or a, or an unscrupulous politician to form a national coalition and oppress all the people. and madison, madison and mason were thinking along the same lines.
6:46 pm
now what happened? why did mason change his tune? i think the main reason was the fact that toward the end of the convention this requirement for, the requirement of the two-thirds majority, um, to pass commercial legislation was dropped. and at that point mason begins to see the south as an embattled minority that's likely to be threatened by northern merchants in the new congress. now, my son was wrong about the specific -- mason was wrong about the specific issue that would divide north and south, and the navigation laws never became a major issue. the problem in the 1790s would be the fiscal policies of alexander hamilton. and i think that mason was almost prophetic in seeing in the broad outlines that fact.
6:47 pm
, that issues of section and class and economics would shatter the federalist coalition of 1787 and would drive federalists, particularly southern federalists like james madison, out of the federalist camp in the 1790s. and that may have been my last surprise, this idea that mason at least in general terms could predict what was likely to happen in the 1790s. okay, thank you. now, was that 45 minutes or at least seemed like it? okay. okay, thank you. [applause] i'd be glad to take questions, certainly. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] consider mason a libertarian. and yet seems to me that what you've been describing is a libertarian. >> well, there are libertarian
6:48 pm
tendencies, but there are two or three reasons why i'm hesitant to call him a libertarian. for one thing, and i didn't talk about it in these comments, he supported some legislation to restrict the sale and consumption of luxury goods. and that department -- and that didn't seem very libertarian to me. he was so concerned about the corrosive effects of wealth and luxury, he was willing to control that by legislation. so that didn't seem very libertarian. and i don't know exactly how expansive a view mason had of the bill of rights. i think his view of the bill of rights, of -- his view of the rights protected by the bill of rights was probably more narrow than our modern view. but i'm hesitant to put him in the libertarian camp. there's tendencies, but i'm not sure i'd put him in that camp,
6:49 pm
clearly. the points i try to make in the book, i don't know that you can put him in a modern category. i just don't know if i can do that. okay. some more questions? yes, ma'am. >> one of the things you said in your beginning was he was not an abolitionist. what was his stance on slavery? >> i think mason was morally opposed to slavely. i don't think he wanted to see slavery expand. he was even hesitant about using slavery to, um, bolster the south's political power. there was one point in the constitutional convention where he expressed some reservations about counting slaves for purposes of representation in congress. but, um, he never talked about abolition or emancipation. he wasn't prepared to go there. i think there are two reasons for that.
6:50 pm
one was common for his generation. i nomadson was convinced that whites and large numbers of free blacks just couldn't live together, and until you found a way to separate races, emancipation was out of the question. the other thing, and again i'm speculating here, but this seems to make sense to me. he had nine children, and i think -- i suspect he was hesitant to free his slaves because he didn't want to do anything that would compromise the economic situation of his children. yeah. he was morally opposed to slavery but couldn't figure out what to do about it. some more questions? yes, sir. that's fine, that's fine. >> you said that his contribution is, in the end finally, is that he is, he gives, he gives strength to the constitution because he's, becomes a member of the loyal
6:51 pm
opposition. i can see that for james madison. >> yes. >> but i have difficulty seeing it with george mason who, after all, resigned his office rather than take an oath of allegiance to the united states. and when offered an opportunity -- >> yes. >> -- to go to congress later, rejects it and retreats back into his life here at gunston hall. >> yes. >> how is he foiled? >> that's a good question. and you're right about those facts. i think what i was thinking when i said loyal opposition, he became part of loyal op cig almost -- almost, he became part of the loyal opposition against his will, what i meant by that was by participating in the ratification process and participating in the debate. i think that helped give the constitution some legitimacy. i wouldn't make, i wouldn't make
6:52 pm
too much of that point. but, um, i think the ratification process helped give the constitution some legitimacy. but i see your, i see your point. >> in other words, you're directing your comments so that critics who have said that the constitution was never ratified in a referendum -- >> right, yes. >> -- and, therefore, is really of questionable legality, and you're saying because mason actually participated in it and rejected it, he gave voice to the -- >> yeah, and that's a good point. and it's interesting sometimes the things that don't happen, the arguments that aren't made. and for all the arguments that mason made against the constitution, i don't ever remember him making the argument that this process is illegal or flawed. and, in fact, early in the constitutional convention
6:53 pm
there's some delegates that are making that argument. and he says, well, that -- and they're arguing that this constitution -- this convention is trying to impose the constitution on people. and mason says, no, no, we're just making a recommendation, and ultimately the people will decide. and he's thinking in terms of conventions then. in fact, one of mason's contributions, i guess, in philadelphia was there's a discussion about how the ratification process should proceed, and one suggestion is, well, let the state legislatures vote. well, many of them were hostile to the constitution, and mason is one of the delegates who says let's send it to state conventions. and he doesn't make the argument that the process is flawed, so -- yes, sir. >> in the process of your readings and studies and writings, have you ever considered putting mason today
6:54 pm
and have what he might think of today, the politics of today in the situation -- and the situations we're in? >> i've thought about that because that's a question, when you write a book like this, you know you're going to get that question. and you have to be careful ant that because -- about that because things have changed so much. but i've thought about how would mason respond to america today. and i think one of the things that might bother mason has been the almost -- what's the word -- the decline of the notion of an american as a citizen and the emergence of the i'd of an american -- eyed of an american as a consumer. i would say the consumer culture supplanting a culture of citizenship. i think that would, um, i think
6:55 pm
that's one thing that would, would disturb mason. yes, sir. >> the reason i said that, you defined it as he was afraid of commercialism -- >> yes. >> -- which is what rules the country today almost. >> yeah. >> and, you know, the, of course, voter turnouts and, i mean, everything that, you know, is like fitting it right into what we're facing today. >> yeah. yeah, and that's why i say i think his, he would be concerned about that, that commercialism. one of the things i just don't know about is the, is the, i mean, we have a more egalitarian, a more democratic society today than he lived in, and i don't, i don't know how he would respond to that. i think he'd be, i think he'd be surprised at the, how active the united states has become in world affairs. i, i think that would surprise
6:56 pm
him. yes, sir. >> how duke he'd respond -- how do you think he'd respond to the modern civil rights movement, being the father of the declaration of rights and how that fits with the modern civil rights movement. how do you suppose he'd react to that? >> i don't know. i mean, that would be his, you know, world turned upside down. i think just that idea of a pluralistic, diverse society really foreign, i think, in many ways to the 18th century. i don't know how he would respond to that. it depends on kind of, you know, his capacity for growth and change. i don't know, that's a hard question. yeah. yes, ma'am. >> we've known him as the reluctant statesman. >> yes. >> and we think of that in terms of his health. you haven't mentioned that -- you do in your book, the gout. several times he comes late to a
6:57 pm
convention or meeting, and they're already going, and when he gets there, he galvanizes things, and he is infliewn expcial important when he's there, but had his health been stronger would he have been a different person? >> well, his health problems may have made him a little more, what's the word, e as call, you know, that may explain his reputation for something of a short temper. i don't know. i had to learn a little bit about gout when i started working on this book. and one thing that, um, one thing that i read was that, um, at least what they diagnosed as gout in his day you could be almost incapacitated with it, and then once it passed, you could enjoy pretty good health. and so i think that explains
6:58 pm
why, you know, he'd get to assemblies, legislative sessions late and then take a very active role once that gout passed. he seemed to be a pretty vigorous man. but i don't think there's much doubt that that played a role in shaping his personality. i also wonder, and i just touched on this in the book and said about all i could think of to say, what the effect of anne's death had on him emotionally. he really seemed to take that hard and i wondered from time to time if he might at least temporarily suffered from what we would call depression today. yeah, yeah. okay, thank you. thank you. [applause] >> every sunday at 5 p.m. eastern booktv airs a program
6:59 pm
from our archives that coincides with a significant occasion that happened that week in the history. for more history programming, check out american history television on c-span3 or visit ah tv features 48 hours of people and events that help document the american story. >> i would like to start by saying unequivocally, uncategorically that i deny each and every single allegation against me today. >> when i ran for president, i said we'd cut the deficit in half in four years, we cut it by 60%. >> every weekend on american history tv, the people and events that document the american story. this weekend a look at the '90s with the 20th anniversary of the con confirmation of supre court justice clairps thomas and the 15th anniversary of the 1996 presidential race between president bill clinton and
7:00 pm
senator bob dole. look for the complete weekend schedule at, or for our schedules in your inbox, click the c-span alert button. >> next, jeopardy champion ken jennings presents a history of cartography and exams the ways that maps are used today. this is about 40 minutes. .. >> i have been at el eliot bay books many times but never seen the secret part. i saw some offices and where are we? the middle of capitol hill or something. nice to see you guys. i am ken jennings. i think what we will do is i will talk a little bit about the
7:01 pm
book. i don't know how this will go but i will do an impromptu geography quiz. it is pretty fun when we turn this into a game show. i don't know how c-span will think of that but we will do a geography quiz and see how it goes and then i will sign the book. hopefully it will not be as long as it sounds because when i go to book signing by like it when the author airs on the side of getting me home in time for -- >> "jeopardy!" >> any jokes aiken finish? you have to yell it out. i will set the up and you cannot come down. my name is ken. the book is "maphead". it sounds like a 12 stepping. it is true. i am a fan of maps in all their forms. maybe -- anybody here a map
7:02 pm
head? name and then your name is with initials? the book was born out of and experience a couple years ago. going through my parents' garage which was a huge pile of books. everyone's parents's garages is a huge pile but my parents's garage looks like raiders of the lost ark. it is huge. my mom said it sound like one more box of mine. i went through the pile trying to find it and opened it up and pulling stuff out and it was a time capsule like high school and my childhood. comic books and mixed tapes. you won't know what that is. at the bottom was a green hammond world atlas 1978. there was this weird moment for me. i hadn't seen it. it was like finding your beloved stuffed animal at the bottom of a box.
7:03 pm
this was a meaningful childhood companion. i saved all my allowance when i was 7 or 8 to buy this at less. at that time i was a total math nerd. i could look at it for hours. i would read at lesses for pleasure the way more normal kid would be reading clifford the big red dog. i would be paging through the atlas. it was an amazing moment of connection to see this after so much time and i realized many years in the closet as "maphead". you realize as you get older that liking geography a lot -- you realize it is a liability rather than an asset to. people don't talk a lot about how they love looking at maps. but as our started writing the book people would ask what i was working on and i would
7:04 pm
apologetically say to friends that it was a book about maps. like that would not really justify -- like what? amazing how many people were like a lover's! are you kidding? many people, i love maps. like they were aware of the social consequences. of being part cargo file. i have a roommate coming in to our apartment at the beginning of the semester, named sheldon. he was actually named sheldon and he had on the walls national geographic maps. i spent my child looking at them. i should have been over the man at this. instead, we are never going to see a girl in here. it became the second least
7:05 pm
desirable or attractive person in the apartment. very exciting for me. i was not true to my "maphead" routes and this was a pleasure because i did get to meet with a lot of people who were geographically geeky hobbies. i got to hang out in the bulk of the library of congress which is very cool like three football fields of cabinets full of maps. the library and took me around, here's a map of a plantation in virginia. george washington drew it. this amazing treasure trove. and people using the gps revolution -- multimillion-dollar military satellites to find tupperware hidden in the woods. pacific northwest creation in portland. the company that maintains the
7:06 pm
web site last year -- who else did i get to hang out with? national geographic kids. washington, more than any other state. these kids are amazing. it was like a middle school. i did a little geography quiz with them. a girl in redmond who won a couple years ago and for a fun i gave her a list of geography questions some of which i got right and some i did not get right hand she was amazing. she got one wrong and i got half of them wrong. kids are amazing. i started to see as i hung out with people like this people into maps, fantasy world and road geeks' obsessed with the interstate system, systematic travelers like people who go to every starbucks or country or half point. people with a lifelong checklist of places they must set one toe in and head back to the airport.
7:07 pm
what occurred to me is their modern-day explorers. airborne too late. they were born in a world that is already explored. maps are not as fun as they used to be when there were big spaces full of sea serpents and cannibals. we have been everywhere. the only places left are the places that stock. there's a reason to antarctica is blank on the map. the things we map now we are mapping the stars and the human genome but these are people who miss the time when you could map something that would surround you. territory your location or place you could explore. they reinvent exploration by making old places new. they hide in tupperware in city parks endlessly and they draw maps of new fantastic places and
7:08 pm
lose themselves in antique maps they are collecting. these are the equivalent of modern-day explores and fascinating to spend time with them. i am going to read a short segment. where i am in your chair i will distract this. and won't speed read or anything but a brief section from chapter 4 of "maphead" one i am a out at the library of congress. place names hold a special appeal. as long as i love the maps i have been enthusiastic economists. a student of place names. maps that are baron and lonely to me. what could be more forward than one of those maps in the region, extra years of corn with industry or agriculture. these abominations make kids hate geography. names are the institutions that bring a map to like. there is poetry and a coastline but personality in oaxaca.
7:09 pm
he agreed with me in the atlas that was labeled the imaginary southern and confident with terror australia with cape of the good signal in swedish river. no one had been to the nonexistent places but it was either that or leave a land mass suspiciously naked. i see obsolete map labels like hagen and ceylon and british honduras. their names are a conduit to my childhood and school cafeteria or piano line from an exercise farm. i find my vacations around places like land fair, quinn drove, whales near the white hazel next to the whirlpool on the red tape. and get my picture taken during a trip to thailand next to the
7:10 pm
sign at bangkok's city hall full of 163 letter names. names don't have to belong to be memorable. you can visit all the lanes and villages like any hill. scratchy bottom, with wayne, cox play. the eccentric folksy roadside history, cheese quake, new jersey, ding dong, texas. most of these came by their names honestly. cheese quake is a corrupting of an indian word meaning up in the village. ding dong was named for a ringing bell in bell carry the. the scene too good to be true because they are. take a 58 letter welsh village that i won't say again. plain old land fair pull when an enterprising local taylor gave it the longer name as a publicity stunt to bring in forest. maybe they needed to buy a
7:11 pm
vowel. the spiritual ancestor of desperate american towns that sold their souls by renaming themselves for celebrities. sometimes contest winning names stick. in new mexico, still called true for consequences after the game show went off of the air. the former pennsylvania town will be called jim floridian as long as there are non olympians. more often than not the new name states would be -- half way oregon after the sellout. joe montana at, such gimmicky names, they go their own way. that is their secret on the side of melt rushmore. in 2005 the tiny hamlet of kentucky turned $1,000 by changing to name notoriety can be a double-edged sword. and taking the ohio school computer lab, bar code hold
7:12 pm
road, can be pierce told the daily mail that the name was a big draw when he first moved and couldn't believe people were moving out because they didn't like the name but the novelty with the endless stream of praying calls and skeptical delivery drivers and busloads of tourists taking pictures while manning the street side. the street was in for a communal rain barrel located on the history didn't matter. in 2009 the neighbors collected the 300 lb fee and the city changed the name to the distinctive archer's way. hard for americans to understand the patriotism bound up in place names. we are a young country and accustomed to their cowboy fashions to everything around it so we can afford to -- the gulf of mexico is not called the gulf of america. according to library of congress that is the pet issue of a frequent complaint on geographic names. if america announced she was changing her first name to canada we would be ok with it. we would get on with our lives
7:13 pm
but elsewhere it is national identity. the western atlas in korea always has the word sea of japan blacked out and the korean name hand a letter below. and the newly independent republic of macedonia, historically was a region of ancient greece that was blackballed in 2008. jihadists rhetoric is out of iran after the 2004 edition of the national geographic atlas of world added to the persian gulf is small current federal reading, arabian gulf. iranian went bonkers. and the influence of the u.s. and zionist lobby the society has distorted a historical reality. all national geographic publications were banned from iran. resourceful internet users from national geographic found e-mails but hundreds of angry reviews and google bombs the phrase arabian gulf. the top would result of the
7:14 pm
phrase is now a mock error page reading the golf you're looking for does not exist. national geographic made the correction. tensions in the gulf are running high over the issue. iran created a national persian gulf day to celebrate the nomenclature and cancel the islamic solidarity and objected to the phrase persian gulf and even threatened to ban any airline that doesn't use the right name on the label. the closest american equivalent is the way we use places to convert insiders or outsider status. in the manhattan forced to ask for avenue of the americas. the official renaming is such a mouthful that new yorkers -- or pronounced having street liked the city in texas. the magic names of the tacoma suburb to the largest state and the retirement mecca on the olympic peninsula. to pronounce the names like
7:15 pm
sequent brand themselves the clueless tourist or california transplant. i could tell you the real pronunciation but under washington state law i would have to kill you. the pronunciation and gave away by doing it out loud. you have to imagine that. one thing that struck me is the headlines you hear about geography are scary ones about how a percentage of college students can't find canada on a map or can't find their but with both hands. the fact those guidelines exist is a sign that some part of our culture believes geographic knowledge is important. it is an important part of cultural literacy. this vast untapped good will towards the geography. i like to think they are slides we are living may be in a new golden age for maps. maybe in the age of google earth and real time mapping of traffic
7:16 pm
and weather and smart phones showing you where your friends are and all the amazing mapping innovations of the last ten years, mapping has been around for centuries but this will create a new golden age where maps miraculously appear to be as exciting and sexy to the average person as for whatever reason they always appeared to me. that is my hope. that is the hope of "maphead". should we do a geography quiz? here is my plan. i have my magic bag a copy of "maphead" to give away. and the ken jennings bobblehead. extremely rare. the other lack of demand for them. people say they're not exist in girlfriend from canada. this was made in canada as a promotional item for the trivia game and no one wanted them but
7:17 pm
me but i have a garage full. for anyone who answered the question right i asked my wife what candy we should have and she said nerds. that is very sweet. thank you. so i think my plan in so far as i have one. i have done this before and it works pretty well. if you don't answer shout it out. if you are quick, i hope your quick because if nerds are heading at your head. this is not a part of the event this week. i was talking about visions from kentucky. this is a time you have to be alert. after we do a short number of these we will meet for our most gifted geographically -- people have been in the preliminaries and a few finalist to delay final round. for example i would read a question like this and you yell
7:18 pm
out the answer. might be something like in what state is lake okechobee? over here first. in the front row. don't try out my arm. don't answer in the form of a question. you are already stepping "jeopardy!" tonight. nobody is really missing it. "jeopardy!" had stories about alex trebek showing up at a signing in barnes and noble around this time and outrage, why are you here? who is hosting "jeopardy!"? everything is under control. what country's longest river is the whar. i heard over here. your neighbors are out there. which canadian province is wild road country? over here somewhere. what was it?
7:19 pm
beard? thanks for the cooperation. until 1995 what was the english name of india's most populous city? i heard bombay and calcutta. it is actually bomb bay. the current mumbai -- very early adopter of bombay. right here. thank you for not getting ahead. don't know what the liability issues are. in what country -- as soon as you know it yell it out. they larue, barack, bali? somewhere. front row. very nice. if you scale of 3,000 ft. of capital and what national park? over here somewhere?
7:20 pm
british airways. traveled to north from anywhere in texas what state do you enter first? you in the red shirt. this is going very well. what is europe's tallest volcano? anyone want to try? where was it? over here? right here. i didn't miss that. that is impressive. the judges are keeping an eye on you. what country's most important export is austria? here you go. nice to see you. thanks for coming out. that was sort of tough. separate not gender specific, which is the nation of the former yugoslavia is a member of the e you? >> romania!
7:21 pm
>> right here. very nice. where are ellsworthland and -- somewhere -- way in the back. one row. what city has sugarloaf? front row. very nice. that was a terrible throw. that is not an error. cleveland, which of the great lakes? somebody here was quick to. you again, sir. you don't want to be in front of him. i feel your pain. what canadian territory is named our land? right over here. someone first. there's a rebellion over here.
7:22 pm
the dardanelles connect the mediterranean with what other -- right here? the four large islands of japan which is farthest north? we are "jeopardy!" co-conspirators. seattle's best "jeopardy!" -- the best "jeopardy!" contestants on the house tonight. how are you doing? [applause] >> we are playing for money instead of nerd you are playing very well. the fix might be in. the lesser antilles or abc
7:23 pm
island. somebody said aruba. a better throw than last time and almost killed the person behind you. what did the romans called hibernia? i heard it first. tom. the guy next to tom. you two fight over it. the world's largest desert is not the sarah. and arctic as somebody said. technically speaking, that guy will be eating nerds all night. the definition of a desert scientifically nothing but the amount of precipitation and it is too cold. what densely populated island is due south -- hong kong is there somewhere. will you pass that back to hong
7:24 pm
kong? i am getting a good sense of who our final five are. what country's most visited tourist attraction is the city of petra? aaron brown. one of my friends who i found out after writing the book was a map nerd. thanks for coming. until a few months ago what was the largest country by area in africa? sedan. that might have been tom. last question. what specific country's largest island is the key level? somebody said fiji. i think our finalist has got to be right here. probably right there. may be right here. got two.
7:25 pm
come on. i skipped a few people. you did very good. there were many -- come on up. [applause] i guess this mike doesn't move. tell me your name starting on the end. where are you from? and now living in the area. you didn't come all the way just for this from spokane? right from residents. thanks for coming. you drove all the way up for this. i am sure these guys are excited about the book coming out. i thought you might. a guy from mountain view who answers map questions like he has seen the answers. may have that on his smart phone right now. i am going to read the questions slowly.
7:26 pm
say your name. establish who is first and give the answer. we will do ten questions. first question. early explorers also called the platte river by the name -- >> in nebraska. >> the answer is nebraska. but the name of what u.s. state? very nice. you just lucked out. one point in the middle for frank. what country's largest cities are conception? >> chilly. >> i don't think -- i am impressed. did you think i would say your name? zero 20. what u.s. state has a capital city with a three word name?
7:27 pm
it is the right answer. and frank. you don't work for microsoft. you are trying to do that. it didn't work. what name is shared by the tallest mountain in cyprus and alex trebek -- and greece? nice timing. chris on the board. it may be over. which was the only one of the 13 original u.s. states not to touch the atlantic? pennsylvania. good. you are on the board. still anybody's game at the half. which african country administers the enclave of cabinda? >> barack. >> it is not.
7:28 pm
you don't get one -- >> algeria. >> and goal. just north of an goal. the island of know via zambia is the northernmost extent of what mountain? chris is in first. what mountain range? sorry. thank you, ladies and gentlemen. this is an exhibition i say to you. keep the answer to yourself. am i thinking about this right? question 7? the bears no correct answer -- i don't want to question your mouth. you two can talk at this point. answer every remaining question. which is this point? i have granted this before. which is the span of central
7:29 pm
asia is surrounded -- i think you were first. it was not answered by john. you were next. that is correct. you are still in it. please keep your answers to yourself. what is the sea of cortez? >> the gulf of california. >> 3-4-1. it all comes down to that. how many oil nations have the word guinea in their name? >> two. >> correct. >> three. >> three is not correct. is four. [applause] >> i will give you the rest of the nerds but there's only one
7:30 pm
left. only one more question. in what city is the at the river? frank. i tried to help you. let's give these guys a big hand. [applause] very impressive. we will do -- does anybody have any questions? what are the four guineas? guinea, guinea-bissau, editorial guinea, apple and new guinea. they are all the hard ones. any questions not about countries? >> how is your favorite dog? >> sort of famous mentioned in the jacket copy. i have a labrador retriever who could not be with us tonight but is getting more stable with age.
7:31 pm
the same -- pretty awesome in our dog. any other questions? >> tell us about your explanation. >> my education? i sort of screw up a lot in school. that is not what you want to hear. i was originally from seattle and moved overseas when i was 7 or 8. my dad got a job in a law firm and korea so i went to international school there and attended university of washington and utah. i have a degree in english and computer science. a very happy english major who decided it would be nice to pay the bills from time to time. what is the difference between a large pizza and an english major? the pizza can feed a family of four. i majored computer science and working as a programmer when i got the call to be on jeopardy
7:32 pm
and thanks to "jeopardy!" i am a writer and it has been great. >> did you know the answer to the last question or just tired of being on "jeopardy!"? >> i got to say it is the worst conspiracy theory ever. you ever quit a job where you are getting 60 k and our or something? very high retention. if you were going to tell me, spend some time. i have heard it. they are all easy if you know the man never easy for you don't. no matter what is a. i promise i didn't. lee harvey act alone. i did not throw "jeopardy!". too much respect for alex trebek
7:33 pm
to ever do that. any other questions? i do live in the area. i am local. >> e.u. -- [inaudible] >> i did see who asked. it is one to a customer. you get one loss. i got a and fairly nice chance anyway. i got to go back last year when ibm had the supercomputer. is possible at some future point that google will teach me how to play "jeopardy!" and i will be back. >> good recommendations for a good nonfiction story? >> i have been working on a little something. that was going to be the second reading. your the first ever to mention flash fiction on c-span.
7:34 pm
>> i will make you offend some people. to you use map quest for google maps? >> i don't see bumper stickers--who would be offended if i don't use a big as a verb? all these map technologies are great. i all lead use google. >> what tips do you have for retaining the most knowledge possible? >> tips for knowledge retention for a knowledgeable team member. >> when people ask how i know all that stuff i feel like i don't have a good answer. i don't have a system or a tie in book that i can direct them to. most "jeopardy!" people would say they got on the show not through a system weekend of cramming but a lifetime of being a curious person. very aware of the world and
7:35 pm
omnivorous. not just most people where we could easily remember the stuff we are into the the other stuff goes in one ear and out the other. whatever the secret is make them interested in everything. i don't know. if by some miracle you become a person interested in everything and always have something to connect it to. you will want to know it and probably like having it in your head to tie on to. it won't fall through the cracks. a couple more questions. >> gender question. i understand the geography nationals is predominately boys as opposed to the spelling bee which is predominantly girls. any observation? >> the possibility of a gender gap in geography knowledge and map reading. if you ever heard any stand-up comedian you know this is fodder for monologue for decades.
7:36 pm
the women can't read maps and to can't ask for directions. national geographic is more concerned than some crappy stand up. they commissioned research because there is a big gap in the finals. the year i went there there were two girls and 50 boys. it is not ideal for the market. they would like to think geography can appeal to anyone. the least popular states, alaska and wyoming were the two girls. they commissioned research and found they were hoping to find an explanation like the questions are biased toward the girls get more nervous. there is a measurable back. for whatever reason geography knowledge between boys and girls, not sure why that is. a doesn't mean the brains are wired differently though that is possible. brain chemistry might be different. there is a good academic research to show we treat boys and girls differently from birth.
7:37 pm
even as babies we toss the boys around and they experience locations more at a very young age. takes for more. in a million ways we might be sending key is that boys are interested in exploring places and looking at maps and girls are not. tried to get more girls interested in geography in general. that is the state of the research right now. in the back. >> i could be wrong but it seems to me in schools nowadays geography just doesn't have the same as it did 30 years ago when i was in school. i don't know if you are aware of what can be done to correct that. i think you said 40% of college students didn't know where canada was. >> things like that happen all the time. he is asking about geography
7:38 pm
education taking a hit in recent years. is it 1,000 degrees in here? the answer is yes for a couple reasons. the main reason especially in primary and secondary education is the social studies movement happened were different social sciences thought why don't grade school kids get our stuff? they could have economics or civics or whatever social -- the final tradition of teaching geography in front of the plaster which is associated with old-time became that because -- the u. s is the only country in the developed world where a kid can go from preschool to graduating with a master's and never cracked a geography textbook. obviously there are good things
7:39 pm
out of this revolution and some costs. when we stack up against other countries in geographic literacy we're next to last and national geographic tests. no developed nations do great. they're surprisingly bad with -- in sweden they can't find the pacific ocean but it is higher than you would like but the u.s. is worse off than japan or most of the european countries in the developed world. gps might make it worse. we don't even open a map anymore. a talking box tells us where to turn and occasionally you see people turning into rivers or on the railroad tracks. we always believe the box. time for a couple more questions. one more question. better than all the other questions put together.
7:40 pm
who is still confident? you are confident. >> other than going through the library of congress are you able to go through any of the other ancient maps of other countries? >> did i go through ancient maps? i did go through the london map fair which is the leading place to buy and sell antique maps. good geographical society which is where all the great explorers of the age came back to show their stuff. they financed surge edmund hillary's expedition and robert scott's expedition to the pole and stanley livingston. that was very cool and beautiful maps obviously. another favorite place is the back gallery in the vatican in rome. i don't know if you have been for the vatican. beautiful mural and enormous maps of every region of italy lining the wall.
7:41 pm
this is where the pope would wait for the audience to see him and the idea is they would be intimidated by the extent of his earthly realm and heavenly influence. i am a sucker for old maps. new maps are beautiful but to look at a map and be reminded how many people sacrifice or lost their lives over this coastline to be drawn more accurately is a powerful thing. thank you for coming out tonight. i will sign books as long as there are books to be signed. i appreciate you coming. [applause]
7:42 pm
7:43 pm
>> today cell phones to a good job of capturing video. if you don't have access to better video equipment don't let that stop you and if you need more help, go to studentcam board. >> it can be confusing. c-span will help you stay organized. i find it useful to read the rules carefully and make a checklist of what you need to do but don't worry the process becomes clear once you get started. >> another thing about the documentary is you can work a lot of the project or in teams for example of you are a good writer but not handy with a
7:44 pm
camera get a friend to help out only will you learn something that you will increase your chances of learning. >> you don't need interviewing to make this work you can use your parents, of her students, teachers and c-span has resources along the way. this process is both fun and extremely rewarding. there's a little bit of effort anyone can do this


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on